Buccal Fat Removal

Buccal fat removal, otherwise known as cheek reduction surgery or buccal fat pad extraction, is a plastic surgery procedure to reduce the size of prominent cheeks. This is accomplished through the excision of the buccal fat pad tissue, an encapsulated fat mass located on either side of the face.

The cosmetic benefits of the procedure include less puffy, “chipmunk-like” cheeks and an overall slimmed-down facial silhouette.

Buccal Fat Removal

Complimentary Consultation at Clinic 360

Your buccal fat removal procedure should be performed at a reputable plastic surgery firm by an experienced surgeon such as those at Clinic 360 in Toronto. Prior to your cheek reduction surgery, you should come in for a complimentary consultation with one of our physicians. At this time, you can inform them of your medical history, any allergies you may have, previous cosmetic procedures, medications or supplements you are currently taking, and your expectations for the operation. Following a physical exam - and if it is determined that buccal fat removal is the right procedure for you - your doctor will go over pre- and post-operative care instructions, risks of complication, the surgical technique that will be used, and factors that will influence the cost of your cheek reduction surgery.

How is a Buccal Fat Removal Procedure Performed?

The first incision is between 2 and 4 centimetres in length and located in the interior of the mouth, just above the second upper molar. Through this, your surgeon will cut through the buccinator muscle in the cheek in order to reach the buccal fat pad. Once it has been located and excised, they will put pressure on the outside of the cheek to push the buccal fat pad through the incision, so it can be pulled out fully using forceps. Any further unwanted cheek fat may also be removed at this time followed by the incision being closed with non-dissolvable sutures. This process is performed separately on both cheeks.

Risks & Complications

As with any form of surgery, buccal fat pad removal carries a certain risk of complication. As a preventative measure, it is best to stop smoking and taking Aspirin-based painkillers at least a month prior to your cheek reduction procedure. These can constrict blood flow and inhibit natural healing. Common risks associated with buccal fat removal surgery are:

  • Infection
  • Scarring (including excess scar tissue)
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of sensation (temporary and permanent) in cheek and interior of mouth
  • Complications with anaesthesia
  • Puckering of cheek skin
  • Asymmetry of cheeks
  • Lumpy cheeks
  • General cosmetic dissatisfaction
  • Facial paralysis (extremely rare, though this may occur if the buccal branch of facial nerve is damaged)
  • Hematoma (pockets of blood forming subcutaneously)

Many buccal fat pad removal complications can be avoided by being completely honest with your surgeon at Clinic 360 during your complimentary consultation. At this time, they will go over all risks in further detail with you as well. You also should be sure to carefully follow your doctor’s instructions, both prior to and after your cheek reduction surgery. It is important to note that people generally lose fat from their face as they age, meaning a buccal fat removal may have the unintended consequence of increasing wrinkles and gauntness.

Buccal Fat Removal Recovery

Typically, you should be able to return home the same day as your brow lift surgery. You must arrange for either a friend or family member to drive you home, as the effects of the anaesthetic may not have entirely worn off. Some notes for recovery include:

  • Bruising and swelling: Typically, bruising and swelling only lasts for 10 days. Ice packs can help reduce swelling.
  • Eating: Eating may be difficult due to the incisions in your mouth. Eat carefully and gingerly, avoiding highly acidic foods and alcohol.
  • Mouthwash: Your surgeon may instruct you to rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash several times a day to stem infection.
  • Keep your head elevated: You should be sure to do this for at least 2 days following surgery.
  • Numbness of cheeks and mouth interior: This should subside soon after the surgery. Permanent numbness may be a sign of nerve damage.
  • Smoking: Stop smoking a month before surgery and do not smoke during recovery. This can irritate the incisions in your mouth along with restricting blood flow, thus slowing healing time.
  • Sutures: Sutures should be removed within a week or two of surgery. Do not let your tongue play with the incision sites excessively.

Cost & Financing

Buccal fat removal is considered an elective cosmetic procedure and, as such, is not covered by health insurance. If you are unable to pay for the procedure in its entirety up front, financing and payment plans are available. Your surgeon at Clinic 360 will go over all associated fees and payment options for your cheek reduction during your complimentary consultation.